The coming enlargement of the European Union determines
the need to ameliorate the mutual cognition in many fields.
Culture is one of the most important since it serves as
a factor of differenciation, between regions otherwise
tending to the unification in the field of industry, finance
system, agriculture policy, etc.
first CEI Forum held in Venice 9 -10 of June 2003 voted
unanimously the recommendation concerning the contemporary
art (copy included). It has been decided that the first
project to be developed is a chain of events called CONTINENTAL
The purposes of the project
stages of realization
of the cultural varieties in Europe
recognition of the artists from different regions of
the genuine values from different European places to
become the common European tradition
content of the project
building up the institutional network to develop the
elaborating the framework of events in each participating
elaborating the mutual co-operation
presentation of the project in its different versions
publications and digital registrations
international exhibition of contemporary art held in
different European art centers
of the music based on the local traditions (and local
cooking: different versions of Continental breakfast
simultaneous TV broadcast from different places
cream, juice, croissant, butter and jam. Typical french
breakfast called "continental" in opposition
to the British one, consisted of tee (or even coffee),
poridge, fried bacon and eggs on toasted bread. Both known
all over the world became a part of a global culture as
something what came from Europe and serves as an evidence
of oneís cultivation.
itself is still identified as an area where everything
is in a French style, including, of course, breakfast.
Who would say Europe when speaking about Bosnia or Lithuania,
for example. Who knows that Bosnian city of Sarajevo was
once the most important European place - the one where
the First World War started, 1914; who knows that the
city of Vilnius, capital of Lithuania, is the geographical
center of Europe? What is the notion of Europe from the
point of view of the Europeans themselves? What does "continental
breakfast" mean to the citizens of Kiev, Ljubljana, Porto
does not need to put this question to many well known
artists to have an answer. Many of them constantly touch
the question of identity. How it is to be Irish European
or to be Russian European, etc. When you look at the contemporary
art from this point of view, you will be surprised how
many eminent artists touch the problem of their cultural
identity. The big success of Marina Abramovic at the Venice
Biennale 1999, for example, not only depended on the huge
amount of raw bones.
artist was sitting on the stinking heap and cleaning the
bones as if she were in the middle of the mass grave somewhere
in the battle field of former Yugoslavia. She delivered
the sound of mourn which mixed up with the heat of Italian
summer (it could have been the Yugoslavian one) and the
stench of rotting meat. Milica Tomic, another Serbian
artist does not sing funeral melodies.
looks at the viewer from the video screen, tears in her
eyes, and repeating the sentence: "My name is Milica
Tomic, I am a Serbian artist"... That's enough to
understand the message. She feels gulty of what has happen
in her country. Ex-Yougoslavian, Bosnian from the origins,
Danica Dakic, makes the projecton on the empty sockle
which, once upon the time, carried the sculpted torso
of Ivo Andric, the Nobel Prize winner, who happened to
write the novel :"Bridge on Drina".
bridge does not exist anymore, it was pulled down during
the Serbian-Bosnian conflict. The torso was pulled down
after the bridge. The projection showed the writer's hand
with the ink pen. The hand was trembling. The Nobel Prize
does not protect monuments.
As a matter of fact, monuments suffer equally or even
more than people. In the same city of Sarajevo another
monument was destroyed during the same conflict. It was
the monument of Gavrilo Princip, the Bosnian revolutioner,
who killed archduke Ferdinand in the summer 1914 and caused
the World War. Bosnia belonged to the Austrian Imperium
at the time. After that Bosnia belonged to the Federal
Republic of Yugoslavia.
it's en independent European country. Who cares about
Sarajevo? Who cares about Vilnius?
Narkievicius, the Lithuanian artist made an effort to
mesure Europe and found its geographic middle point. It
occurred to be the square of Vilnius. The artist took
some pictures from the place. It looks like an average
urban place somewhere. Might be Europe. Who knows. The
majority of the Eurpoean citizens would not recognize
it, I bet. There is nothing like a landmark in there.
No Big Ben, no la Tour Eiffel, no gondolas, nothing, Just
the pavement, some buildings, cars... The middle of Europe
looks like the middle of nowhere.
belongs to the Catholic imperium some 500 years. Itís
not so long. Therefore, the Chistian belief goes together
with the pre-babtist's habits. Egle Rakauskaite has made
her own interpretation of the Holy Communion as a ceremony
of swollowing the Christ's Body. She produced the crucifixes
made of chocolate. The Jesus's body became really sweet.
The Polish artist, Joanna Rajkowska offers another consumer
good. She produced a set of tinned body liquids, six types
- each one for another purpose: sex, strenghth, brain
capacity, etc. She sells it from the fridge - like Coke
or Fanta. One may sell everything money can buy - specially
in the highely industrial society.
consumerism is a very strong factor of everyday life in
Europe. You always want to buy more and better for less.
The product must be attractive to absorb your attention.
Nobody likes to have the same sausage everyday. Wim Delvoye
found such a big variety of sausages in Belgium that he
was able to make the fantastic ornaments out of it. It
does not look like sausage anymore. It rather reminds
the elaborated ebonist piece of art. You may put it next
to some other pieces by this artist: the mini-lorry or
the concreet mill executed in carved, expensive, oriental
the other hand, there are some very luxury products which
may never sand next to the ordinary ones. Shoes, for examples.
The very pair of shoes must be shown separately from any
other. Andreas Gurski photo delivers the proper image
of the proper shoes in the proper shelf. Looking to the
overloaded stores on another Gurski's pictures how can
we believe that there are millions of people who cannot
afford to buy not only the selected type of shoes but
sometimes any shoes at all. Even any sausage, the most
simple one. Also in Europe, by the way.
can see this kind of people on the photos of Boris Michailov.
The homeless citizens of Moscow are ready to do anything
you ask to get some tiny bribe.
Remember the early installations made by Ilya Kabakov?
Labyrinths of ugly corridors and strange letters. These
were the letters of complaints and accusations written
to local authorities by some neighbours to punish some
others. The cases concerned utilization of common territories:
kitchens, toilets, basements, etc. You know, the communists
shouldn't have needed the privacy in those places. Did
they think about the type of breakfasts and about the
style of service?
intimacy is a very relative question. The hotels' guests
like to have it, for example. But there are TV cameras
in the rooms for the security purposes. You can see how
boring is the hotels' life looking to the series of video
made by Ann Sofi Siden. She, herself, does not feel uncomfortable
when photographed while urinating. The intimacy space
might mean something else for her. As well as for the
model of the Michelangelo Pistoletto's mirror composition.
Like in the Louis Bunuel's movie "Cette obscure objet
du desir", where the process of eating is considered
so intimate that the characters do it in the total isolation.
On the contrary, the process of defacation and urination
gives the opportunity for the nice conversation of the
are, however, the non-fictional situations when nutrition
is a basic problem, therefore serve as an instrument of
oppression. The evidences from the concentration camps,
the aircraft accidents and the tribal wars mention the
cases of cannibalism as a factor of survival. The visual
art is still silent about this question although Miroslaw
Balka in one of his early installations placed the old
dixie just over the floor, on the shitting level - as
he explained. The installation referred to the concentration
camp. The exhibition was shown in Berlin just after The
last war in Europe is already the history; we live in
the peace for over half a century. Many movies have been
produced ever since. For the majority of European citizens
the Nazis are handsome men in attractive uniforms. They
borrow the faces of the best actors from the whole world.
The collective memory of the war is replaced by the collective
memory of mass media. The media image of the war is mostly
attractive, specially regarding the negative heroes.
Polish artist Piotr Uklanski has shown the collection
of the Nazis images produced by movies. The Polsh actor,
Daniel Olbrychski arrived to the exhibition with the sword
and destroyed his photos as a Nazi officer. The Minister
of Culture closed the exhibition in Warsaw. He expected
art to be a pure decoration.
we talk about the continental breakfast instead?